Accidental landlord cautious about prospective tenant

by Readers Question

14:25 PM, 1st February 2015
About 4 years ago

Accidental landlord cautious about prospective tenant

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Accidental landlord cautious about prospective tenant

I recently moved home and am looking to rent out my previous property. Given that I have moved over 200 miles away it was not a viable option for me to manage the property myself, so I joined a highly-recommended online letting agency. After a short while, a couple (both in their late 20’s) expressed an interest in renting my property.

As a first time landlord, I obviously wish to let the property to a sensible, trustworthy set of tenants who will ideally stay there long-term.

A number of issues have been brought to my attention which make me nervous letting to this couple. I wish to seek some advice on whether I should rightly be concerned or if I am being unreasonably cautious.

The female is currently pregnant and on maternity leave. As a result, only the male has been referenced by the agency and it appears that not only is his salary to rent ratio insufficient, he is currently employed on a 12 month contract as a teacher. They are willing to have the father (a doctor) as a guarantor, and state they can pay the initial deposit and one month’s rent in advance. I am concerned with their long term ability to pay rent (despite having a guarantor. I will also have rent guarantee in place throughout the duration of the AST). I maybe should also note that I have already conceded on allowing them to have pets in the property too.

Should I rightly worry about letting my property to these prospective tenants?

I am thinking the best thing I can do is speak to the tenants by telephone and ask them a number of questions to get a better feel for who they are and what their background is.

Any thoughts, comments or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Raycautious



Comments

Neil Patterson

14:32 PM, 1st February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Ray,

Obviously it would be wrong to discriminate against a women on maternity leave as she is still employed.

As a summary without knowing any other facts you have a professional couple committed to having a family together. He is a teacher and has a sufficiently good reference to get rent guarantee insurance and the guarantor is the father who is a doctor.

Sounds pretty belt and braces to me unless someone disagrees.

AA

15:46 PM, 1st February 2015
About 4 years ago

Sorry but I would disagree - if things go pear shaped try getting a court eviction where a child is involved. It's all very well talking about guarantors, professionals etc but enforcement requires court action and that is a long long process. Even more so when you Introduce a child into the equation and most likely you will be doing the work of the welfare system pro bono for a very long time before you get your property back. It's not about discrimination, it's about the uneven handedness of the legal system where the starting point is, and pardon my language, you are a scumbag landlord trying to evict a family / child. That of course is a worst case scenario, but a very possible outcome in this line of business. If its the only interest you have had , you maybe compelled to take them on, but thirty years of experience , I tend to run a mile .

Sally T

21:30 PM, 1st February 2015
About 4 years ago

When we evicted a single mother with kids, there was no delay because she had children (quite the opposite).
They sound like a good possible tenants to me, I would insist they were both credit checked. It may only be for 12 months but at least he has a contract. The fact is, someone could have a 10 year contract, but it doesn't guarantee they will have a job next week.
Good luck 🙂

Raymond Hollis

21:57 PM, 1st February 2015
About 4 years ago

Thank you for your comments. I spoke to the couple via telephone this evening and feel more comfortable; they sound like a decent couple looking to start a family. We have agreed to proceed with a 6 month AST (with rent guarantee and guarantor) and see where we go from there.
Sally, you're absolutely right - someone could have a seemingly stable job but there is no guarantee.
Asif; indeed what you described is a possible outcome, but I figured if I was to be put off by that then I really shouldn't be a landlord at all. Fingers crossed what you described won't happen to me, but I realise there is always that risk.

Gary Nock

22:02 PM, 1st February 2015
About 4 years ago

Do not let the tenants into the house without them both being referenced. Your rent insurance guarantee will only cover the one who is referenced leaving you to pick up the tab for her half of the rent.Unreferenced tenants may also void your buildings insurance. Make sure the guarantor is referenced and goes on the rent insurance guarantee. Ensure a Deed Of Guarantee is
signed by the guarantor after referencing along with a copy if the tenancy agreement. After the tenancy commences send the guarantor a letter with copies of the deed, signed tenancy agreement etc advising him that his liability as a guarantor has commenced. So you have three safety nets. 1.Tenants pay rent. 2. If tenants don't then guarantor does. If guarantor doesn't then rent insurance pays.

Jonathan Clarke

22:21 PM, 1st February 2015
About 4 years ago

There is a natural apprehension with anyone who moves into your asset but doctors and teachers are normally a fairly good bet. . You also have rent guarantee. Yes speak on the phone and that will hopefully provide the extra reassurance you need. But all things being equal I would look to progress this application if it came before me. I struggle with Asif`s interpretation

AA

22:45 PM, 1st February 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jonathan Clarke" at "01/02/2015 - 22:21":

Sometimes it's good to hear when one is wrong, and I hope that this is the case. However my belief has always been, look at the glass as half empty and you will never be disappointed. My experience of an application to evict a mother and two children ( not my tenants as I mentioned earlier I steer clear of this model ) the judge postponed the application with instructions to find a solution. Yes you read right. Judges behaving in a bizarre manner is not unheard. In all honesty if I was a judge I would have second thoughts about putting kids out in the street. However trade that with a hypothetical single or couple professional ( not expecting of child) in the same scenario and I am pretty confident they would be out of the property as fast as legally possible. You have to be sensitive to the fact that non paying tenants can be in your property for months on end while you seek legal reposession. And judges are not inhuman. But hey ho....you live and you learn.

Carol Thomas

13:08 PM, 2nd February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Raymond
I understand from your post that you are with "a reliable on-line letting agency". I am too and I no longer have the worry of it all. My agent does all the vetting, referencing, guarantors etc. surely yours would do that as well? I have rented out one of my own homes in the past, and found it very hard to put strangers in it. I was lucky and had great tenants, not always so I'm afraid. My advice to you - step back and delegate the business of letting to the professional agency you are already dealing with.
PS I don't suppose anyone will be offended if I name my agency - Lettingsupermarket.com - they are first class.

Gary Nock

17:12 PM, 2nd February 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "CaZ " at "02/02/2015 - 13:08":

I'll second that.........................

Raymond Hollis

20:36 PM, 3rd February 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "CaZ " at "02/02/2015 - 13:08":

Hi CaZ. I'm glad to hear you have high praise the agency you named, as it is indeed the one I ended up going with. You are right; they are the professionals and I should trust that they will do an excellent job. Being new to this, it is hard not to feel the need to micro manage everything myself. Obviously I know I cannot absolve myself of all responsibility; I will try to relax a little more but know I must be diligent. Thank you

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